‘Barbarian’ is top film amid late-summer box office doldrums

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The horror film “Barbarian” won the weekend by bringing in $10 million, according to studio estimates Sunday, as the late-summer doldrums at the box office continued.

Director Zach Cregger’s debut from Disney’s 20th Century Studios premiered at San Diego Comic-Con in July and opened Friday on 2,340 screens.

“Barbarian” tells the story of a young woman (Georgina Campbell) who finds her Airbnb-rented house weirdly occupied by a stranger (Bill Skarsgård) in a half-ruined section of Detroit. It goes on to subvert several horror conventions.

The hardly head-turning numbers were expected in a nearly always slow September, with the bigger movies of fall and the holiday season many weeks away. “Barbarian” nearly earned back its $10.5 million budget in its first weekend, and accounted for nearly a quarter of the entirety of theatrical earnings.

“In a weekend where the overall box office is quite low, the top number of $10 million is a really solid number for this marketplace,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore. “Horror movies are always an accountant’s dream, and this is why.”

Coming in a distant second, but playing on just 810 screens, was “Brahmāstra: Part One: Shiva,” an Indian, Hindi-language fantasy epic from Star Studios, another subsidiary of Disney.

The film written and directed by Ayan Mukerji, about a DJ named Shiva who discovers a connection with the element of fire and an ability to awaken a supernatural super-powerful weapon, earned $4.4 million in its first weekend in North America.

Long-running Hollywood fare, “Bullet Train” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” occupied the three and four spots.

“Bullet Train” has brought in $92.5 million in six weeks and “Top Gun: Maverick” has earned $705.7 million in 16 weeks. It now stands as the fifth highest-grossing domestic film of all time, just behind “Avatar” and just ahead of “Black Panther,” and is the biggest North American earner ever that is not part of a sci-fi or superhero franchise.

“This movie is putting down superhero numbers,” Dergarabedian said.

More quiet weeks likely lie ahead before a surge of expected big earners, including “Halloween Ends” and “Black Adam,” arrive in October.

Soon after that, the sequel “ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ” kicks off the holiday box office season and an even bigger round of expectations.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Barbarian,” $10 million.

2. “Brahmastra Part One: Shiva,” $ 4.4 million.

3. “Bullet Train,” $3.25 million.

4. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $3.2 million.

5. “DC League of Super-Pets,” $2.8 million.

6. “The Invitation,” $2.6 million.

7. “Lifemark,” $2.2 million.

8. “Beast,” $1.8 million.

9. “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $1.65 million.

10. “Spider Man: No Way Home,” $1.3 million.


Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton